Zhejiang university team develops knittable “icebear fibre”



A team of Chinese scientists has developed a knittable fiber with exceptional thermal insulation drawing inspiration from polar bear fur. According to a study published in Science, the encapsulated aerogel fiber is washable, dyeable, durable and well-suited for use in advanced textiles. Aerogel fibers typically lack the strength and stretchability required for weaving into cloths, and they lose their insulating properties in wet or humid conditions.

The researchers from Zhejiang University took inspiration from the specialized fur of polar bears, which effectively keeps them warm and dry. The hair features a porous core enclosed within a dense shell structure. Mimicking the core-shell structure, the researchers created a strong aerogel fiber with lamellar pores, which effectively traps the infrared radiation close to the skin and maintains mechanical robustness, making it suitable for knitting or weaving. The fiber maintained its thermal insulation properties with minimal impact even after 10,000 repeated stretching cycles at 100 percent strain.

The team of researchers tested the fiber in a thin sweater, which, despite being roughly one-fifth as thick as a down jacket, deliveredcomparable thermal insulating performance.

Zhejiang university team develops knittable “icebear fibre”
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